Will The Titanic Sail Again?

Sunday Express 20th November 1994

HARLAND AND WOLFF BID TO BUILD A 100 MILLION REPLICA OF THEIR DOOMED LINER

"There are still men who remember seeing a huge keel being laid at Harland and Wolff. They saw a four-funnell liner slowly rising ribs-first from her giant cradle.

They witnessed the building of the mighty Titanic. And they were among an awe-struck crowd of 200,000 who saw the wonder of the sea slide gracefully stern-first into the River Lagan, red rockets firing and bands playing.

Now, more than 80 years on, they could live to see the construction of a second Titanic in the same shipyard.

For the last week Harland & Wolff were drawing up plans to build an exact replica of the original liner, which sank after hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage in April 1912, with the loss of 1,523 lives.

The idea of the second Titanic was conceived by a Japanese consortium which, wants to create the world's most unusual holiday and business complex - Japan's answer to Disneyland.

The Harland & Wolff shipyard workers, many the grandsons of the men who built the original 882-foot liner, would like nothing more than the chance to build it.

In his office near the site of the mammoth slipway and gantries used to build the first Titanic, company marketing executive Peter Harbinson talks excitedly about the new ship.

"We have the expertise, the technology, the manpower, the facilities and all te know-how to build the second Titanic," he says.

"If a full size replica of the Titanic was built, I am sure that there would be a tremendous interest in her."

Already, Harland & Wolff has sent copies of the original Titanic drawings to an Ulster company Mivan Marine, which is preparing a feasibility study.

Meanwhile, architects have finished plans for the new vessel's interior. They feature the glass-domed grand staircase of the first Titanic, complete with its great 21 light candelabra, Corinthian columns and intricate wooden panelling".

The writer admits that such a project would attract great interest but for some the memories associated with the ship may be too much to bear.

The Sunday Express approached the then three British survivors to ascertain their feelings on the matter.

Malina Dean then 82 said that it was a "macabre idea&ldots; but it would be wonderful for the men in Belfast to construct it." She also added that "if a full-size replica of the Titanic was built in all of its glory, I would love to see it. And if I was invited aboard it, I would probably say yes."

Eva Hart was seven when she was on board Titanic and said quite strongly that "[she is] against building a replica&ldots; to me, seeing it would bring back a nightmare of memories."

Eva went on to say that personal sentiment does not stop those who would do anything to proceed and so she thought that if anyone was to build a replica of the ship, Harland and Wolff would be the best people to do it.

The third survivor, Edith Hasiman's daughter told the Express that her mother would be amazed if a replica was made especially that one that could actually sail.

The Express reported that Titanic 2 could happen as early as 1999 because the Japanese opened a theme park near Osaka Bay big enough to house the replica.

Finances would be feasible because the Japanese would charge three times as much for a luxury suite on the replica than an original price of 812 in 1912 and thus recouping the 100 million spent.

We will just have to wait and see what happens in the future.

2000 TPD Turner